Kiel Renamed And Renewed

The long-shuttered Kiel Opera House in St. Louis is getting a new lease on life along with a renaming.

The historic building will get a $78.7 million renovation capped by a naming rights sponsorship that immediately rechristens the venue as the Peabody Opera House, city leaders and others announced July 12.

Terms of the 10-year naming rights deal with Peabody Energy Corp. weren’t disclosed, but it caps a financing package that includes $32.6 million in bonds and $46 million in state and federal historic tax credits, according to St. Louis’ Post-Dispatch.

The project was put together by Dave Checketts and the NHL’s St. Louis Blues ownership group, which includes Optimus Development’s Chris McKee, among others.

Peabody Opera House will be operated by an affiliate of SCP Worldwide and is expected to host 264 events in 2012, including concerts, comedy, touring Broadway shows and family events in the main theatre, according to the paper. Checketts is SCP Worldwide CEO/chairman.

SCP Worldside owns a mix of properties including sports teams, media outlets, Scottrade Center and soccer-specific Rio Tinto Stadium in Salt Lake City.

“We now have everything in place to restore this St. Louis treasure, including the support of Peabody Energy,” Checketts was quoted saying on the Blues’ website. “Peabody understands the historical relevance of this facility and the role its renovation and reopening will play for St Louisans and visitors to downtown for generations to come.”

The Opera House, opened in 1934 and closed since 1991, is part of a complex adjacent to the Scottrade Center arena that includes Kiel Auditorium. Its main theatre seats 3,500 and three of four side theatres will also be available for events with the fourth serving as a VIP lounge.